Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel is bringing back Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), but it's not how fans expected and it won't connect to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. Coulson was first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the franchise's initial installment, Iron Man. He and S.H.I.E.L.D. became a major connective thread throughout Phase 1 and he ultimately helped Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) unite Earth's Mightiest Heroes in The Avengers. Of course, Coulson was also killed in The Avengers. He fell victim to Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his death acted as inspiration for the Avengers to truly band together and save the day.
Marvel TV later resurrected Coulson for the MCU spinoff series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is currently airing season 5 on ABC. However, though Coulson has been alive for roughly five years in the MCU, he hasn't returned to the films. One of the biggest unanswered questions about the MCU is why Coulson't hasn't revealed himself to the Avengers. Fans have been hoping Coulson and/or other TV characters would appear in either Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers 4. While we don't know if that will happen, Coulson will be back in a different movie - Captain Marvel.
When Marvel announced production is underway on Captain Marvel with star Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, the studio also released a cast list that includes Gregg as Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan (Guardians of the Galaxy) and more Marvel characters. Now, we break down how exactly Captain Marvel brings Coulson back into the movie universe and what it means for whether the film side of the MCU will connec with the TV side via Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This Page: Captain Marvel Resurrecting Coulson Explained
Captain Marvel Resurrecting Coulson Explained
In the modern continuity of the MCU, Coulson was resurrected by S.H.I.E.L.D. on Fury's orders using Kree technology under the secretive Project TAHITI. In the current season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., however, it was revealed Coulson is dying from the wound he suffered in The Avengers. As explained by the show, the deal he made with Ghost Rider in season 4 is slowly undoing the healing of the Kree tech that brought him back to life. Currently, Coulson's team is searching for a way to save him, but he's accepted that he will die. It's one of the major overarching story threads of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 (more on that later).
However, as far as we know, Captain Marvel won't deal with any of this. Captain Marvel is set in the '90s, and will feature Jackson's return as Nick Fury, though it will be before the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent lost his sight in one eye. Since Captain Marvel takes place roughly a decade prior to Iron Man, we'll see a younger version of Coulson, in his earlier days with S.H.I.E.L.D. It's unclear at this time how Coulson will factor into the storyline of Captain Marvel, whether he'll be a major supporting player or appear in more of a cameo. We do know Captain Marvel will feature the Skrulls as the main villains and adapt the Kree-Skrull War from the comics.
Further, we know that Carol Danvers is the first superhero Fury meets, so it's likely she'll be the first hero Coulson meets as well. Of course, Coulson grew up as a fan of Captain America, so that should offer some fun interactions between Carol and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. But, although Captain Marvel takes place in the '90s and will undoubtedly set up both Coulson and Fury's storylines in the modern MCU, will the movie acknowledge or set up Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in any way?
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018